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Groups clear 23 acres of algae in Maunalua

  • COURTESY PHOTO
    Workers have hauled away 2.9 million pounds of invasive algae from Maunalua Bay in Hawaii Kai since late 2009. Above is the bay before the algae was removed.
  • COURTESY PHOTO
    A look at Maunalua Bay after the invasive algae was removed.
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Groups clearing reef-suffocating invasive algae from Maunalua Bay in Hawaii Kai say they’ve removed the harmful plant from 23 acres.

Federal economic stimulus funds paid for the $3.4 million project. Organizers said yesterday that workers have hauled away 2.9 million pounds of algae since the project began in late 2009. All of it has been turned into compost for local farmers.

Work is expected to continue for about two more months. The project was completed under budget and created 75 jobs. Another 3,000 community members and hundreds of students from 12 schools donated their time.

The Nature Conservancy managed the project with the nonprofit organization Malama Maunalua.

The algae was first reported in Maunalua Bay in 1981. It later spread to over 54 acres of once-thriving coral reef.

The Maunalua Bay reef restoration project partners include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Nature Conservancy of Hawaii, natural resources management company Pono Pacific Land and Malama Maunalua.

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